Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Kings Watch Complete!
Kings Watch from Dynamite has been worth the wait. Jeff Parker can write a story I like to read and Marc Laming can draw a comic book page worthy of the name. That might sound like false praise, but in the modern world of comics it ain't. Too many comics I glance at look terrible and read worse. This is good stuff by some pros who know what they are doing with some fabulous characters to do it with.
In many respects this storyline is a reboot of the Defenders of the Earth concept which found some success in the 80's both in cartoon for comic book formats. The idea was perfect, team up some classic King Features heroes and have battle the ultimate intergalactic foe Ming the Merciless. So we got to see The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician and Flash Gordon, a trio of titans get some penetration into a marketplace which as (at least in America) passed them by all too often.
In the story told by Parker and Laming, the Earth is overcome with nightmares, which seem not limited by geography or sociology. All peoples are suffering them and they suggest a difficult future to come. At the same time Dr.Hans Zarkov and Flash Gordon are trying to get an experimental plane into orbit. There is a connection. Then we learn that Cobra, a villain who once faced Mandrake is seeking a mysterious crystal which combined with one he already possesses will open a doorway to some unknown danger. Already weird creatures are finding their way to Earth. These creatures, at least in Africa are confronted by The Phantom and Lothar. Dale Arden, a science reporter is putting all the pieces together.
The battles develop quickly as Cobra uses his vast resources to threaten Earth's defenders and bring about the invasion of his master Ming the Merciless by combining some mysterious crystals and opening portals which will allow the invasion to happen at multiple points across the planet. The heroes realize they are fighting the same foe and join forces, using their wits and combined resources to stave off the invasion.
But despite their best efforts the invasion is launched and Ming's forces find their way into Earth's largest cities. A counterattack is developed and implemented.
I won't say much so as not to spoil a tremendously entertaining story. Suffice it to say, there are secrets within secrets to be revealed as to the full nature of the enemy and the heroes as well. Not everyone is who we think they are.
There is death, there is sacrifice, and there is real true heroism in the face of a brutal threat to mankind's very existence. The Kings Watch is a fabulous read, and the ground floor it seems to what Dynamite has planned for these wonderful heroes.